Ambulance delay repeat horrifies partner

17:00, Jun 17 2010
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NOT GOOD ENOUGH: Kari Lloyd, of Wellington, lost her partner Brett Collings in a motorcycle accident on State Highway 43 in 2008. Emergency services took 90 minutes to locate the scene.

The partner of a motorcyclist who died after waiting 90 minutes for medical assistance following a crash on State Highway 43 is horrified it could be allowed to happen again.

Brett Collings, of Wellington, died after he failed to take a corner near Ohura, clipped a fence and crashed about 4pm on November 8, 2008.

Emergency services took an hour and a half to locate the scene of the crash after being given the road's colloquial name – The Forgotten World Highway – which was not recognised by the computer system.

Dispatchers initially sent a helicopter and ambulance to an area 100km south, and Mr Collings, 59, was pro-nounced dead at 6.15pm.

The crash occurred just 23km from the home of Annie Fletcher, who was forced to wait five hours in agonising pain before an ambulance found her property on Saturday night.

Mr Collings' partner, Kari Lloyd, said yesterday her heart broke when she read of Mrs Fletcher's wait for help.

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"I spent nine months working with the coroner, the ambulance service and call centres proving that they [emergency services] caused Brett's death, not him," she said. "I was given assurances that things were changing and it wouldn't happen again but how many kilometres down the road and they can't find someone else?

"My heart breaks every time I see this happen."

A report into Mr Collings' death made 14 recommendations for improvement but Ms Lloyd said the continued failure of emergency services to find patients was a sign of deeper problems.

"It's actually quite horrific that this is still happening," she said.

"I know some of the causes have been addressed but I don't think they've got to the systemic problem here.

"They need to do some root cause analysis and find out what's causing it."

Ms Lloyd believed the emergency services' reliance on addresses rather than locations was a significant part of the problem.

"People have accidents in bad places, that's just how it happens," Ms Lloyd said, "but they are asked for the address not the location.

"People don't always know the address but they know where they are in terms of distance from a town on the main road."

Taranaki Daily News